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Binnies and AM-Team collaborate to monitor and reduce N2O emissions at wastewater treatment plants

  • Binnies and AM-Team collaborate to monitor and reduce N2O emissions at wastewater treatment plants
    Credit: Binnies

About the entity

Binnies is the new trading name for the Black & Veatch water businesses in Europe and Asia after they joined the RSK group in January 2021. Binnies specialises in water utility, infrastructure, engineering and environmental projects.

Binnies and AM-Team have formed a new collaboration to help their clients monitor and reduce nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions at wastewater treatment plants. This new partnership combines Binnies’ process, hydraulics and delivery experience with AM-Team’s skills in integrating N2O- and other biokinetics in computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modelling. Bringing our complementary skills together results in an opportunity to help monitor and reduce N2O emissions at wastewater treatment plants.

Our collaboration enables the prediction of N2O emissions from treatment facilities in full 3D. The award-winning CFD-N2O model drastically enhances process understanding while the model can also be used to test and compare mitigation strategies. The simulation output can be described as an ‘x-ray scan for N2O’, revealing the true hotspots and root-causes of the emissions inside bioreactors. The combination of hydrodynamic insights with detailed process kinetics is the true power and novelty of this application, allowing the spatial prediction of N2O production and emissions, along with carbon and nitrogen removal. The black box of N2O can be turned into a white box.

Emission factor quantification in conventional and advanced wastewater treatment processes is essential to assess and reduce the resulting environmental impact and to understand the starting point for benchmarking. This analysis enables water companies to more effectively conduct measurement campaigns, to minimise or completely avoid laborious onsite data collection, benchmark treatment works, to optimise existing facilities and to design new facilities to reduce N2O emissions.

Our collaboration enables the prediction of N2O emissions from treatment facilities in full 3D

Binnies UK and International Process Director Tony Koodie has shared his enthusiasm, stating, “It’s well established that nitrous oxide is a significant greenhouse gas (GHG) contributor in wastewater treatment; however, an interplay of different factors makes N2O assessment and mitigation a complex challenge. CFD-biokinetic modelling will undoubtedly help drive a greater understanding and will enable ‘what-if’ testing and optimisation to achieve net-zero ambitions. Our strategic partnership with AM-Team will help deliver this.”

Wim Audenaert, CEO at AM-Team, added, “Solving today’s and tomorrow’s climate challenges can only be achieved through collaboration. Our partnership with Binnies will create major leverage on both sides. Combining our skills, we can now offer a very powerful and practical solution for N2O assessment and mitigation.”

The water companies in England have pledged to reach net-zero carbon on operational emissions by 2030. Companies in Scotland and Wales have committed to achieving carbon neutrality across all emissions by 2040, with a pledge from Northern Ireland to deliver the same target by 2050. These pledges, alongside the science-based target pledges and regulatory requirements, mean there is a demand to help locate, monitor and quantify both continuous and fugitive GHG emissions – specifically nitrous oxide – from wastewater treatment facilities. Process emissions, including methane and nitrous oxide, are released during microbiological conversion of wastewater. They make up a significant proportion of the water companies’ overall carbon footprint. Since N2O has an approximate 300 times higher GHG effect than CO2, its reduction could play a significant role in preventing ozone layer depletion and climate change.

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